Much to the dismay of the Minnesota Vikings and their fans, U.S. Bank Stadium is in the process of being converted for a Super Bowl featuring the Philadelphia Eagles versus the New England Patriots.
Crews last week started recoloring end zones, expanding media areas, installing extra video screens and beefing up security. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, workers will also rip out about 1,200 seats to make room for additional security and media areas, taking capacity from 66,200 to about 65,000.
To make things a little more tense in Minneapolis, stadium crews are operating on a shorter timeline than usual to convert U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings cost crews about two weeks of prep time when they managed to take their Super Bowl hopes all the way down to the NFC Championship game, taking the team deeper into the NFL playoffs than any city’s host team has done in the past.
Minneapolis’ Star Tribune reports that NFL executives brought reporters onto the field Tuesday for a sneak peak of the transformation of the 18-month-old facility.
Eric Finkelstein, senior director of events for the NFL, and Ed Mangan, the NFL’s field director for the Super Bowl, told the Star Tribune that things are on schedule.
Preparations for an event like the Super Bowl are no small thing. All Vikings branding inside the building will have to be removed to make the space neutral. Meanwhile, the usual press box at the stadium generally hosts about 250 credentialed reporters. That space will have to be expanded to accommodate thousands of journalists that will cover the big game.
We're teaming up with @NFL, @PepsiCo, @Aramark to create the first zero waste legacy project at #SBLII; our goal is to recover 90%+of stadium waste on game day! #Rush2Recycle https://t.co/MAUA1Kciam pic.twitter.com/NgQRBYEOka— U.S. Bank Stadium (@usbankstadium) January 22, 2018
Aside from the more obvious changes to the stadium, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes alterations happening as well. “There are many, many more behind the scenes that you’ll never know about,” Finkelstein told the Star Tribune, noting that locker rooms have to be altered and interview areas in the bowels of the facility will also have to be expanded.
Security will also get a major boost. Roads around the stadium have been closed for weeks, and as Level I National Security Event, the Super Bowl entails bringing in federal agents. The security footprint of the facility is also expanded beyond the boundaries for a normal Vikings game.